Cedar Box Extension

The Cedar Box Extension is an addition to an existing 1950’s state house in Northland, Wellington. The playful extension creates a second lounge, open access to decks and a new master bedroom upstairs.

The design is a bold response to the traditional style of the state house. Where the house has a hipped tiled roof, the extension has a flat parapet and boxy form. The extension is scaled to respond to the house, but is light filled and contrasting.

The extension shows how an existing, well built but dated statehouse can be reinvigorated for modern living. The charms of the state house are celebrated and the extension creates more light and openness, access to the exterior and a sense of delight once missing from the home.

The site is large and sloping, with a path access from the top of the site from the main road. The existing house is centrally situated. We wanted to preserve the integrity of the existing state house, so the logical place to build was on the site of the conservatory on the west side of the house. This led to planning challenges as the extension would come close to the western boundary on this side. We obtained sign off from neighbours for a minor recession plane infringement.

The clients wanted a small but high-quality extension, with lots of light and sun and well insulated spaces. This informed our design and we were able to create an elegant box, scaled off the house but very bold, which held small but well designed, efficient spaces.


New extension to the west, includes a new lounge, two decks to either side and the main bedroom above.

The site is on a large, sloping property with access from the streets above and below. The existing house is centred on the site, on a raised, flat area of land which drops away to the north. The existing home is a small three-bedroom state house built in the 1950’s. Many neighbouring properties are also state houses, with some more modern homes built in between.

On the west side of the home was a small, dilapidated conservatory. The client wanted to replace this with a new living space and better access to the sheltered, north facing yard. They also wanted a new bedroom and space for their growing family.

The design maintains the integrity of the original state house, and replaces the conservatory with a new lounge/study area on the ground floor and main bedroom and ensuite on the upper level. The connection between old and new is down several steps, and a colourful leadlight sliding door can close of the open connection between the original living room and new lounge.

The Cedar Box Extension is constructed on timber piles and with timber framing. This was for cost reasons, and to allow for portability of materials to the site. Several steel frames were used to enable the lounge/study area to be open and sun filled with north facing sliding doors to the deck.

The cladding on the ground level is painted timber bevel back weatherboards, to match and tie into the existing house. The cladding to the upper level is cedar vertical shiplap weatherboards to act in sharp contrast to the rest of the house and create a strong, playful and modern extension. A powdercoated steel popout around the bedroom window frames the views, gives shading and accentuates the modern box shape of the upper level.

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